From my visit to The New York Times Travel Show held at the Jacob K. Javits Center, N.Y.C. in January, it’s clear that boomers are a prime audience for many destinations. From Costa Rica to California, from Florida to the Philippines, from Morocco to Martinique, and everywhere else you can take a plane, ship, train or drive to visit, the post 50 market is on the move and so are their millennial children.
In fact, The New York Times announced that its annual Travel Show reached a new record of 30,099 participants during the three-day event —the highest attendance in the Show’s history.
So where do you want to travel during your life after 50?
I always like to see what places The New York Times Travel recommends each year. On the list of 52 for 2017, I’ve been to Canada (a variety of eastern and western cities), Detroit, Hamburg (Germany), Minneapolis, Kingston (Jamaica), Napa Valley (California), Sedona (Arizona), Madrid (Spain), Portland (Oregon), and yes, believe it or not South Bronx, N.Y., which is on the list. Since I was born in the Bronx I am curious to know more about this “industrial neighborhood’s revival!” That’s only 10 spots. Looks like I have much more traveling to do in my lifetime.
What’s Trending In Travel?
There were a few trends that I noticed from the panels at the Show. I also attended a media event sponsored by Trav Media, where I met with Convention and Visitor’s Bureau representatives to learn about their destinations and chat with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) members to hear about their itineraries.
Travel is a huge business. While print travel publications have dwindled, there are more travel websites and blogs, podcasts, and social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to see and read about destinations. With Facebook Live you can share your trips right when they are happening.
♥ Travel Agents Are Still Needed: Elizabeth Harryman, Travel Editor, Westways Magazine, said that travel agents are still useful and can save you money. “They do this every day, you book a trip once or twice a year.” Travel agents are best to use when you want to book a cruise, as they have a better understanding of each cruise brand. Alejandro Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group, echoed that “consumers know a lot more” when planning a trip from reading travel websites, blogs and online information. Yet travel agents can help direct you to the best vacation because of their knowledge of what is available in the marketplace.
♥ Athenticity and Transformational Travel Is Popular: Writer Margie Goldsmith (an old friend from my corporate days) noted: “People want authentic and experiential travel. They want to eat at the same restaurants as the locals. Food is a big part of the experience.”
♥ Safety Is Most Important: With the changing environment around the world, safety was a top concern. Elizabeth encouraged people to continue to travel. “A rabbi once said to me that to fear is to already start the process of dying. So go ahead and travel,” she said. CEO Zozaya noted that “7.5 million new passports have been processed this past year, so more people will be traveling outside the country.”
♥ Technology is Impacting The Travel Industry. Arnold Donald, President and CEO, Carnival Corporation, talked about sensors that are worn on cruise ships. “It’s the size of a quarter. When you are using your sensor, we know where you are on the ship at anytime. It’s encrypted so no one else can use it,” said CEO Donald.
♥ Personalized service goes beyond cruises. Now there is text messaging to alert you that your room is ready at hotels and apps to help you navigate a city during your stay. “Digital is hospitable,” said Brian King, Global Officer from Marriott International. He reinforced the two generations of travelers his team caters to, “empty-nester boomers who are going to take trips they have always wanted to take because they have more disposable income with he kids out of the house,” and millennials, who have a huge interest to travel, are communal and enjoy tribal travel.”
Cruising The World & Around the USA
Cruises are an easy way to travel for both boomers and millennials and multi-generational cruises are available providing choices for every age group. ” Traveling by ship has become a vacation in itself,” said CLIA Chairperson and Carnival CEO Donald. “When cruising, you wake up in the morning and find the world outside has changed.”
♥ Ocean Cruises: Carnival will be introducing Carnival Journeys later this year, ocean cruises that are 9 days and longer from places like California to Alaska. These itineraries are conducive to retirees who have more time to travel. They also provide voluntourism experiences for people who want to have an interactive volunteer experience while cruising.
I was eager to hear about new wellness trends that are being introduced on cruise ships. MSC Cruises, a European owned company, is partnering with Technogym to launch the Wellness Experience in April 2017, including gym clothes for passengers and spa experiences.
Princess Cruises is enhancing the onboard experience with menus from award-winning chefs like SHARE restauranteur Curtis Stone and Chocolate Journeys, an exclusive arrangement with Norman Love, one of the world’s foremost experts in chocolate. This one sounds absolutely divine! I must experience this chocolate extravaganza during my life after 50! (Note: Will have to send this out to my boyfriend L who also loves dark chocolate. Maybe for next Valentine’s Day!)
♥ River and Yacht Cruises: For those who prefer small ships, river cruises are available from a variety of different companies. Viking is one of my favorites, having traveled with them the past two years, once on the Douro River and last year on the Rhine. They have superb customer service.
There’s also Windstar Cruises which provides yacht cruising with new cruises going to Alaska and Asia in 2018; and American Cruise Lines for boomers who like river and coastal cruising in the USA to places like Mississippi, Alaska and New England.
So Much to See and Do On Land Too
There are many exciting places to explore during my life after 50 – in the USA and abroad. From getting to know St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the USA to hiking in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley, from relaxing at spa resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona to navigating Tucson’s UNESCO City of Gastronomy; from practicing yoga at Le Monastère des Augustines’ in Quebec or maybe even in India one day to exploring the culinary creations and spectacular scenery of Croatia, which had a huge booth at the Show – I can’t wait to be transformed by it all!
Leave a comment and share what places you are inspired to visit during your post 50 years.